from Earthly Love

Instigation in the wind,
urging winter along:
wood smoke, woodpecker, song.
One times ten is ten,

and there is one of you,
and ten things I could say.
Let’s try to try it my way —
I’ll tell you what is true:

movement of sun in leaves,
the breath of fall in every
thing, even things we never
notice — aftermaths, sheaves.


You are something like
a flame, something clear,
an ocean’s water near
the shore, the open strike

of thunder in the air,
November stars, snow.
The smoke of days, the low
fires of night are there

inside your quiet hands.
Hold me too. I’ll be quiet,
or quieter, like night
mustered at morning’s command.

Nathaniel Perry is the author of Nine Acres (APR/Copper Canyon, 2011) and is the editor of the Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review. He lives in Virginia.